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Beth Albaneze, CTRS, CPRP, CLP
Dilemma Seniors and Assisted Living 
House Calls Total Wellness
. https://housecallstotalwellness.com/

Dilemma Seniors and Assisted Living 

<strong>Dilemma Seniors and Assisted Living </strong>

Few experiences in life are more difficult than caring for a loved one who is in mental decline or who requires long-term care. Without support, family caregivers (some are untrained) can become overwhelmed, angry, resentful, depressed, and even immobilized, which can make them a liability, not an asset, to the person in their care. Now there is an added obstacle of staying safe, remembering the pandemic and lingering impact where many still want social distancing with facilities restructuring the way they do business. For example when there is a referral, rather than coming in for a tour and lunch where the potential resident meets others and sees their possible room, now what is offered is a virtual tour as well due to the possibility ofquarantine. Many seniors and their families find that whenvirtual zoom meetings are offered to discuss rates, the anticipation can create anxiety and many seniors become distracted and lose their interest. The lack of intimacy from using a device might increase a sense of distrust especially if they are unsettled about the topic of transition already.

Because each situation in Assisted Living is unique, there are no hard and fast rules about the kind of accommodation each facility can give during this unpredictable time. Each person’s unique needs creates a somewhat impersonal experience when we call to ask specific personal questions that would make the idea of moving to a more restrictive environment less threatening.  The families worry about burn-out since they  are trying to ease the stress on themselves and their loved one needing more care  —  That may mean seeking a therapist on line to provide perspective and a confidential outlet to discuss difficult family matters. However face to face meetings again are ideal yet now the increased need for professional services are overwhelming and the choice of which professional to retain is challenging. Also many people are nervous at the thought ofusing these devices and their applications. Social networking within the facility and integrate outside of the facility is easier to organize when safety regulations are not increased to the point of an undue burden on the residents. Previously it was enjoyable and engaging when a relative or family friend would visit with their loved one for a few hours a week to allow the family caregiver a breather but now the visits involve criteria to enter the building.

And, if a family cannot agree on the facilities approach and the type of caregiver support, then contacting the professional is delayed until a crisis sets in where decisions must be made immediately anyway.  When there is too much dissension, it is wise to seek a third party as a prevention measure to assess the situation and recommend a path forward. My company, House Calls Total Wellness, for example, has expanded and enriched services to  provide virtual guidance, emotional support, and resources to help clients through these times of adjustment and transition, which is the reason we received a call from Angelina recently.

Her elderly mother was severely injured from a major fall. Angelina and her husband have two children. The entire familyagreed that their mother was no longer able to live alone in her home, however they couldn’t come together on a solution. The children wanted to take her into their home; the husband advocated for her to go to a specific assisted living that was further away but cost effective.  Angelina  wanted her mother in assisted living around the corner where the services were designed to meet her mother’s needs and the environment was uplifting due to all the activities. The husband was blinded by the fact he might have to supplement the costs and Angelina was focused on the  rating of the facility. On top of that, their mother didn’t want to leave home. While all of these decisions needed to be made quickly, the obstacles were there due to addedrestrictions, recent quarantine, lack of family able to visit and at present only virtual options since home health aides were not allowed to come to the facility presenting a major dilemma.

Our team provided counseling on line to the family several times, and ultimately other members of our team were able to discuss money management; daily living needs for mom inside the facilities and/or integration within the community, strategies for implementing these leisure options with our recreation therapist and encouraged active listening techniques for the family to use when communicating to mom. 

With each discussion through virtual sessions, Angelina was able to carve out the best plan of action with professional support and a member of the family always present on the call so that everyone in her primary and even extended family were able to contribute to their mother’s care without becoming overburdened. Each had authority over a certain aspect of her care, and they could avoid stepping on each other’s toes because their spheres of duty only intersected in very general terms.

While life’s transitions are, for many, overwhelming, terrifying and anxiety-provoking — especially when it comes to handling major life changes for a loved one — you don’t have to navigate the minefield of searching for a facility, looking for aides, doing the caregiving, figuring out  paperwork, benefits, and subsidies alone. Rely on professionals to support you and they are right at your fingertips on line.

And if you have questions or need assistance, House Calls Total Wellness is here to help.

From the Owner of House Calls Total Wellness


By Beth Albaneze and Co-Author Amy E. Trumbull

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